[Tech Article] How to locate data on an old hard drive
Most people have to upgrade their computers or have had a computer stop working due to hardware failure. This article explains how to locate your pictures, documents, and other files off an old hard drive.
- Get the hard drive out of the old computer. This step is simple for a desktop, though the difficulty can vary for laptops. If working with a laptop, you will need to seek further instructions for hard drive removal.
- Get a hard drive enclosure or a USB-to-SATA adapter. The adapter offers the advantages of being faster to connect and fitting any size hard drive. The enclosure is useful if using the old hard drive as a longer term external drive.
- Connect the hard drive to the adapter or enclosure by plugging in the power and data ports. Plug in the USB cable that comes with the enclosure or SATA-to-USB adapter into your computer USB port.
- On your computer, open file explorer by pressing the Windows key and the letter E at the same time.
- Select the old hard drive from the left column in File Explorer. It will most commonly be labeled D or higher. In this example, the old hard drive is labeled as Windows (D:).
- Most data that you need to recover will be in the Users folder.
- There is a folder for each profile that existed on the old computer. Select the user folder matching your username.
- If you encounter a prompt stating you do not have permission to access this folder, select Continue to assign yourself permission. This may take a while to complete.
- You can now access the various library files containing all of your documents, pictures, etc.
- Copy the files to your new computer by copying and pasting to the new computer hard drive.